Hands on the Battlefield Hardline beta

I dashed home from work on the 9th, and whacked on the E3 stream. Preparing my brain for the amount of gaming news that was about to crash its way into my memory. A much needed dinner however saw my stream 15 minutes behind the live time. “No matter”, I thought to myself, “I’ll catch up in my own time”. It was only until Battlefield Hardline was shown, that I realised how much I had been wrong. They hit you with the news of the beta being available right there and then. But it was only available for X amount of people, so it was fist come first serve. I headed straight to the PS4, seeing that 60% was left, I was safe. I went straight for the download and saw it ready for next day gaming.

So here I am and, having played some hours, I can assure you that it’s still the Battlefield we know. It’s just a little different, that’s all. And hey, if you didn’t want different, you should still be playing Battlefield 4 this early in. So, if anything, it’s great to be different or there would be too many people saying, “well it’s not different enough to warrant a new game”, or if they went for the futuristic approach, be known for tailgating CoD. It’s cops and robbers, THE game you played as child, but brought to gaming in HD. What’s not to like?

Battlefield Hardline takes away the approach of a big death match or conquest mode, it’s more focused and more team objective based. Which will either go really well because you have a good team, or controller throwing if you play with a bunch of idiots. So nothing too new there, then. Oh and apparently to accelerate in a vehicle it’s R2 as opposed to the analogues.

And for those who saw the E3 trailer, the ending doesn’t demonstrate anything besides for illustrative purposes. It isn’t a game where it’s one death and you’re out, and the last guy gets arrested leading to a game over. Both modes that are available to play consist of multiple lives. Although you can get arrested if you’re a robber and get sneaked up on by a cop, ( which will take the player out much like an assassination would).

Crane Collapse

The game is similar to all Battlefield games, in the fact that you will have two teams (set at 16 per team), pitted against each other battling for superiority. Although there is no ‘most kills wins’, or ‘capture a static area to win’. It’s all on the go, strategic team work. Just as you would expect in a heist. The destruction physics are still there, where blowing up vital pillars may take down a structure. And expect any crane you see to be able to be taken down, for some added impressive crashing and dust clouds, leading to an extra area of protection in the battle zone.

The beta has limited access to the weapon mods, but you will still have the choice between 7 gadgets per class, with two to be active at any time. These are your class specific items, such as a riot shield as a support, or a revive as a medic. Although the cool thing about Hardline, is some of the tailored accessories to the game, such as the Zipline for roof to roof access, and a grappling hook for those quick wall scaling manoeuvres. Such items add a new layer of strategy and fun that hasn’t been seen since Battlefield 2: Spec Ops.

There are some new vehicles best fitting the type of game it is, where both teams have the equivalent vehicles for balancing purposes. So you can expect the cops to have the helicopter with dual mounted mini guns, police interceptors as well as an armored car with passenger mounted machine guns. The robbers having the ‘executive’ helicopter, street bikes and sports cars, as well as their own armoured vehicle. These, at the moment, cannot be upgraded so you have them as they are without much to toy with. But as you will spend 90% of the time out of them, this isn’t exactly a game changer.

Cop Car
The way upgrades are unlocked for weapons and vehicles has changed. Instead of it being based on doing a certain challenge, they are now bought with cash. This has been gained from money stolen in the game modes as well as money awarded for completing the game, with more money being awarded for winning as you’d expect! I personally don’t like this side to things. I much prefer having a target to reach, and if I have to grind for it, so be it, as it will mean I get to try more weapons out in order to unlock them bit by bit. Instead of out right buying them.

At the moment, there are two main game modes available, with a map to go with each one. Every round you will rotate between being either a Cop or a Robber. With each side having their own different starting weapons and accessories.

Heist

Heist is the bread and butter of the game, I would say. It’s the mode that was James Cameron’d during the show case. The game starts off with a vehicle loaded with dollar crashing over the bridge, landing and ready to be breached and plundered. As the cops, your job is to prevent the goods from being stolen, and when it is, to make sure it doesn’t reach the escape point by all means necessary. As the robbers, your job is the exact opposite. You break open the vehicle, wait out the timer for the explosives to go off, snatch the loot and lead a jolly goose chase to the escape zone. There are two sets of loot (standardly A and B), so the robber wins by getting both sets of loot there. The cops need to bleed dry the opponents of their lives, or last until the time is over. This game will take team work to the next level, as those simply going for the kills will find a sneaky duo dash in, snatch the loot and be well on their way to winning within minutes.

Blood Money

Blood Money revolves around the two teams having their own bases, and one section in the middle to which there is a stash of cash. Each team needs to fight their way to the cash zone, steal some (limited to 500k a time) and then drop it off at your base. The first team to reach $5 Million wins. The robbers are here to steal, the cops are there to “secure”.  The twist here is that if you are behind, you can turn the tides by heading to your opponents base and stealing their hard earned cash and taking it to yours, that’s if you can get away with it back to your base of course, which is no easy feat. If you come across one such player stealing your cash and running for it, take them down and you will be able to collect what was yours and return it to its rightful place. Team work is also essential as the more players you have around the cash, the faster you can steal it.  A group of 4 -5 players will see you grabbing 500k within seconds, be by yourself and you’ll be a sitting duck for a good 30 seconds.

Both maps are comparatively small in comparison to Battlefield 4 by a long shot, thus you will find combat is going to be more CoD like, in the sense that it is going to be short bursts of fire fights and lots of them. Within Blood Money, from capturing the cash to legging it to your base only takes a few minutes if that, thus the vehicles, bar the mounted weapons, are really rendered useful in the main sense … except for perhaps hit and runs on the opposing enemies base.

Cash to Spend

So what’s the round up of my first thoughts? It’s a fun game so far, and shouldn’t be judged too much on the technical side for glitch behaviour. If you do complain, you shouldn’t be playing a beta. They have added a few nice little touches, like pushing in the right analogue stick (R3), which when in certain vehicles as the passenger, will see you climb half out the window for those proper drive by experiences and the introduction of perks when you’re on a kill streak for that added buff. In the end though, I’m not quite sure how much it will warrant paying a full price tag, because there so far isn’t the open fun that Battlefield games are known for and therefore normally bought for. It mostly seems like a large DLC type game. So we will see with what comes in the full package.